Hyper-speed fiber optic lines that power Verizon’s FiOS high speed Internet and television service run through Lavallette – but only so they can serve Ortley Beach and the north beaches of Toms River.
Residents want to change that, especially after a lengthy discussion at a recent borough council meeting regarding complaints about Altice (formerly Cablevision/Optimum), the cable provider that has a monopoly in the borough.
Councilman David Finter has created a petition on change.org requesting Verizon FiOS to expand service into Lavallette. Borough officials believe the 2010 Census did not accurately count the number of year-round residents in the community, which has continued to rise since rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy got underway. Residents began circulating the petition this week.
Verizon, when obtaining a statewide franchise license, agreed to offer the service in the most densely-populated cities in New Jersey. But most Shore communities do not qualify, regardless of their density, because seasonal residents are not counted in the census. Toms River receives FiOS because of a requirement that the service be offered in every county seat. The only other areas of Ocean County served by FiOS is a sliver of Brick Township and a single block in Seaside Heights.
Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz has also been spearheading an effort to bring more cable and Internet service competition to the island, spurred by a decision by Altice to stop recording and airing borough council meetings. Similarly, Lavallette’s meeting are no longer recorded and aired on local cable access channels.
Vaz said Tuesday that Altice gave the borough $1,300 to purchase a camera to record its meetings. The borough, beginning in either March or April, plans on live-streaming meetings on YouTube and having them available for the public to watch.
The petition is located at: change.org/p/david-finter-verizon-fios-or-lack-of